Rogers Blames Self for Loss; Doesn't Lose Respect

From the Wisconsin State Journal, as reported by Jason Wilde.


One of the reasons why I love this guy. Intangibles and accountability are things you can't teach at this level.

Wisconsin State Journal - Packers: In contrast with Favre, Rodgers fine with accepting blame


GREEN BAY -- Aaron Rodgers has said over and over that he learned so much during his three years behind Brett Favre -- in spite of Favre's less-than-enthusiastic approach to mentoring him.

What the Green Bay Packers first-year starter usually doesn't say is how he learned some of his most valuable lessons from the legendary quarterback. While he learned plenty about what to do from watching Favre, he also learned a few things about what not to do.

For all his remarkable accomplishments, taking the blame publicly when things went wrong was never Favre's strong suit. His explanation was often that he was "just trying to make a play."

While Rodgers wouldn't touch the question Wednesday of whether Favre's public approach to admitting fault after games influenced his own style -- "I'm not going to comment on that," he said with a grin -- Rodgers said he has always believed it is the quarterback's job to accept the most blame whenever his team loses.

That was his approach at Pleasant Valley High School in Chico, Calif., at Butte (Junior) College and at the University of California, and it's especially important to him to be that way now. That's why he claimed responsibility for Sunday's overtime loss at undefeated Tennessee.

"When you're winning, the quarterback a lot of times gets too much credit. So I find it important to deflect credit to people who are often overlooked," said Rodgers, who enters Sunday's game at Minnesota having completed 63.7 percent of his passes for 1,982 yards with 13 touchdowns, five interceptions and 17 sacks (95.3 passer rating).

"But on the flip-side of that, when you lose, you need to be accountable for the way you play. If I didn't play well, I'm going to be completely honest -- `I didn't play well, it's my fault.' Now, anyone else in the locker room can say whatever they want. But I'm going to be honest when I take the stand and say how I played. And if I played real well, I expect to play well. If we lose? My fault."

That willingness to chuck himself under the bus first hasn't gone unnoticed by his teammates.

"That's what all great players do. He's a leader, he's our quarterback. He puts it all on himself. That's part of Aaron's nature," guard Jason Spitz said. "Here's the thing about the way Aaron acts and the way he presents himself: He's got character. He's fighting for us, and we're fighting for him. And that's what you want in your quarterback. You want to know that he's not going to point fingers. Even if it's not his fault, you respect a man more for saying, `The buck stops here.'"

Added offensive coordinator Joe Philbin: "We want all 11 guys to be responsible and accountable to one another. Is it nice that Aaron is? Absolutely. But we want the guys that cause a sack or the guy that dropped a pass -- everybody's got to be held to the same level of accountability for us to really be a great offense. Is it nice for your quarterback, because he's the guy a lot of people look to? Sure. That's a positive. But we're not going to get real far if he's the only guy accepting that standard."

After the Tennessee loss, Rodgers said his end-zone interception and sack-fumble to set up a Titans field goal cost his team the game. He said the same thing after the team's Sept. 28 loss at Tampa Bay, when he threw three picks while playing with a dislocated right (throwing) shoulder.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy admitted Wednesday that he might have been a bit too harsh in his criticism of Rodgers during his day-after news conference, when he said Rodgers' decision-making wasn't good enough and that he checked out of runs and into pass plays too many times in the game.

"The thing about Aaron and the criticism from myself and everyone involved, there's a lot of positive things that Aaron Rodgers did in the Tennessee game. It just seems like we didn't focus on those as much," McCarthy said. "I think he can play better than he's played, and he's played pretty darn good.

"He's probably too honest. I think he gives you a very honest answer. I don't ever see him try to skirt issues. ... (But) he didn't cost us that football game. Aaron Rodgers didn't lose that game."

If you ask Rodgers, though, he did.

"The biggest thing for me, I want to be a good decision-maker. And I knew I had about a half-dozen plays where I made an incorrect decision," Rodgers said. "A lot of times, the stats or the TV (broadcast) doesn't show the whole story. I threw for over 300 yards, but I could've done a lot better. I threw an interception in a key spot, I fumbled the ball in a key spot. Those are things I'm not OK with as a quarterback or as the leader of this football team. I feel like it's my responsibility and my personality to take the blame when it is my fault."

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